Given the continually changing legal landscape, we strongly encourage employers to reach out to Raimondo & Associates with questions regarding specific situations. We are closely monitoring these developments. Because of these frequent developments, and the need to adapt the general guidance below to specific circumstances, employers should consult counsel regarding specific circumstances.
At a general level, the legal rules and guidance we summarize below should not be applied in a manner that would prevent employers from taking reasonable, common-sense steps to protect the health and safety of employees, customers, vendors and their communities. There are many nuances and fact-specific elements that make individualized legal counsel on these questions of critical importance.
Q: Governor Newsom’s Executive Order Regarding COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation Expired On July 5. Do We Proceed As We Have Been Or Do We Have To Make Any Changes?
On July 24, Governor Newsom announced that he would be extending the executive orders that established COVID-19 paid sick leave and workers’ compensation for at-risk workers in California. However, Governor Newsom did not announce when he would release the executive order extending workers’ compensation for at-risk workers. Our firm is monitoring the executive and legislative updates and will notify you as soon as something has changed. In the interim, new COVID-19 claims will again be addressed under the previous workers’ compensation rules.
Should an employee allege their COVID-19 diagnosis was the result of a work-related exposure, employers must continue to report claims. If the employee states the exposure was work-related, the individual should be provided with the DWC1 form. The claim should be reported to your carrier as soon as the DWC1 form is completed. The carrier will then evaluate the claim. Employers must continue to carefully document all claims. Carriers will again have 90 days to investigate a claim (under the EO they had 30 days).
Q: California’s Guidelines For COVID-19 Positive People To End Isolation Differs From The CDC’s New Guidelines. Who Do I Follow?
The California Department of Public Health has not updated its guidance to match the CDC’s newest guidance. For questions regarding the CDC’s updated guidance, please see our July 21 eBlast. The CDPH stated that its guidance references the CDC’s guidance, which means that the CDC’s generally more restrictive guidance controls.
However, California’s current guidelines require that a person not leave isolation until at least three days have passed without fever without the use of fever-reducing medication. The CDC allows for people to end their COVID-19 isolation after at least 24 hours have passed since the last fever.
Given the differing standards, it is the best practice to follow the CDC’s guidelines in general, but for the no fever requirement it is best to follow California’s more strict 3-days rule.